Then, being touched by the entreaties of the notary for a meeting, she made an appointment in Prince Park; was charming, witty, and languishing; but refused to go with him anywhere.
So she tortured her adorer and skillfully inflamed within him the last passion, which at times is stronger and more dangerous than first love. Finally, this summer, when the family of the notary had gone abroad, she decided to visit his rooms; and here for the first time gave herself up to him with tears, with twinges of her conscience, and at the same time with such ardour and tenderness, that the poor secretary lost his head completely—was plunged entirely into that senile love, which no longer knows either reason or retrospect; which compels a man to lose the last thing— the fear of appearing ridiculous.
Tamara was very sparing of her meetings. This inflamed her impatient friend still more. She consented to receiving from him bouquets of flowers, a modest breakfast in a suburban restaurant; but indignantly refused all expensive presents, and bore herself so skillfully and subtly, that the notary never got up the courage to offer her money. When he once stammered out something about a separate apartment and other conveniences, she looked him in the eyes so intently, haughtily, and sternly, that he, like a boy, turned red in his picturesque gray hairs, and kissed her hands, babbling incoherent apologies.
So did Tamara play with him, and feel the ground more and more under her. She already knew now on what days the notary kept in his fireproof iron safe especially large sums. However, she did not hurry, fearing to spoil the business through clumsiness or prematurity.
And so right now this long expected day arrived; a great contractors’ fair had just ended, and all the notaries’ offices were transacting deals for enormous suras every day. Tamara knew that the notary usually carried off the money to the bank on Saturdays, in order to be perfectly free on Sunday. And for that reason on Friday the notary received the following letter: